Annual Dinner features Kennedy as keynote speaker

Issue May 2012 By Tricia M. Oliver

The MBA is pleased to announce that Victoria Reggie Kennedy will deliver the keynote address at its Annual Dinner on Thursday, May 31, at the Westin Boston Waterfront.

"We are honored to have Victoria Kennedy -- a compassionate leader and esteemed attorney with a demonstrated commitment to the administration of justice -- share her encouraging message at our premier event of the association year," MBA President Richard P. Campbell said.

In addition to the keynote address, the event will also feature the 2012 Legislator of the Year Award to Speaker Robert A. DeLeo and the presentation of the Annual Access to Justice Awards.

The wife of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Mrs. Kennedy is co-founder and president of the Board of Trustees of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United State Senate in Boston. The institute was established to invigorate public discourse, encourage participatory democracy and inspire the next generation of citizens and leaders.

Kennedy has served in a hands-on capacity throughout the institute's development and endowment campaign and continues to spearhead the design, planning, oversight and building of the 40,000 square-foot institute to be located on the campus of UMass Boston, adjacent to the John F. Kennedy Library.

Kennedy received her law degree, summa cum laude, from Tulane University School of Law in New Orleans. She began her legal career as a law clerk for Judge Robert Sprecher in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago. She then practiced law in the private sector for nearly two decades, with special emphasis on the federal and state regulation of domestic commercial banks and savings and loan institutions.

Throughout her distinguished career in the law, she delivered a creative and strategic approach to the practice of law. She established, launched and served as the managing partner of Smith, Raclin and Hirasuna, a Washington D.C.-based boutique law firm that eventually merged into Keck Mahin and Cate. She devised innovative strategies for recapitalization, reorganization and regulatory compliance in the successful representation of commercial banks and savings and loan associations.

Kennedy successfully restructured and renegotiated complex loan transactions on behalf of both banks and borrowers and represented officers and directors of financial institutions before state and federal regulatory agencies. She also served of counsel with Greenberg Traurig and earlier as an associate attorney with Caplin & Drysdale in Washington D.C., and Mayer Brown in Chicago.

Kennedy has served in key strategic and political roles on issues ranging from health and education to labor, especially as those issues affect women and children, and she advocates for involvement in the political process.

In 1994, she established the Massachusetts Women's Council during the election campaign, which served as a model for women's councils in other campaigns around the country. Kennedy was actively involved in the passage of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 and stood at President Barack Obama's side at the signing of the bill into law. She continues to discuss the benefits of the law to constituency groups around the country.

She serves on the boards of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management and the Boston-based organization Catholic Democrats.

In recognition of her leadership and management expertise, she has received numerous awards including honorary doctorates from leading universities and law schools.

Some of her other Boston-based roles include current service as a distinguished professor and mentor at the University of Massachusetts and as a member of the Board of Overseers of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. She divides her time between Boston and Washington, D.C.